The Cost of Obamacare Has Gone Down, Not Up

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Republicans rushed to the microphones today to announce that new projections show that Obamacare will break the bank. In fact, says Fox News, a CBO reports says that it will cost “twice as much as the original $900 billion price tag.”

You will be unsurprised to learn that this is not true. As Jon Cohn patiently explains here, the previous CBO report estimated the costs of expanded insurance coverage between 2012-21. The new report covers 2012-22. In other words, the new report includes an extra year compared to the previous one. That’s the main reason that costs are higher.

In fact, CBO is quite clear on what an apples-to-apples comparison shows:

The current estimate of the gross costs of the coverage provisions ($1,496 billion through 2021) is about $50 billion higher than last year’s projection; however, the other budgetary effects of those provisions, which partially offset those gross costs, also have increased in CBO and JCT’s estimates (to $413 billion), leading to the small decrease in the net 10-year tally.

As Table 1 shows, if you compare the original 2012-21 time period, CBO’s new estimate of the cost of Obamacare is $48 billion less than it was last year. (The report estimates only the cost of expanded insurance coverage under Obamacare, not the entire set of costs and revenues. So the total impact on the deficit hasn’t yet been updated.)

Moral of this story: Never believe anything that Republicans say about Obamacare until you check out the source yourself. But you already knew that.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate